This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Given We Will Only Get A Number To Call Come July 1 - Rather Than A Working NEHRS - Can We Get Some Money Back?
In the last couple of days, indeed since Senate Estimates last week., we have been learning just how limited the scope of the July 1, kick-off of the NEHRS / PCERH will be.
Here is a typical report.
Just another day in the e-health evolution
Anyone hoping for fireworks when a new $467 million-plus e-health system goes live next month is going to be disappointed.
In recent weeks, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has been hosing down expectations. Last week, it was the turn of the Health Department secretary Jane Halton.
“One July is the beginning, not the end point,” Ms Halton told a Senate estimates committee hearing last week.
“We do not expect everyone to be registered on that date and we did not expect all the capability to be available on that date.”
In some respects the launch will be more remarkable for what is not there than what is.
Amazingly, the official website might have to redirect those who want to sign up for an electronic health record. Health Department officials can’t say for certain if the online registration capability will be available on July 1. If not, enthusiastic consumers will have to get off the internet and head for a Medicare shop front or ring a call centre instead.
So, it’s clear that as far as system launches go, this one is going to be more of a damp squib than a jaw-dropping display of new technology.
The government argues this is not so important. These new records have been more than a decade in the making so how they function in the health system in the medium to long term is more important than what happens next month.
There is a great deal of discussion and reaction that follows here:
Reading all the commentary through one does rather get the sense of a slightly disorganised and not all that well planned and executed mess.
That brought me to think about all the funds that had been spent in readiness for the July 1, 2012 start-up and I wonder what it means for all the service providers?
We have a range of consortiums who have been allocated funds for delivery. These include:
The infrastructure partner consortium - Accenture, Orion, Oracle and others - $77 million
The change and adoption partner consortium - McKinsey, PWC, Ocean Informatics and others - $29.9 million
The benefits realization and evaluation consortium - PWC, McKinsey Trilogy and others - $5.8 million
NASH - IBM - $23 million
External delivery assurance advisor $990,000 + extra a bit later (As the external assurance adviser, Ernst &Young will have ongoing oversight of the project and provide independent advice on progress) This one especially seems to have a good deal of work yet to do.
And of course there are millions that have gone to NEHTA as ‘managing agent’
There is a lot of useful information aggregated here:
SPENDING on Labor's Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system has blown out to $760 million, almost $300m more than the $466.7m budget.
The National E-Health Transition Authority has swallowed the original allocation almost whole -- it has received $466m in taxpayers' money since the PCEHR was announced by former health minister Nicola Roxon in 2010.
The $760m price tag to date has been uncovered by The Australian in a detailed analysis of statutory records available from the federal Health Department, AusTender, the Senate Community Affairs committee and the Council of Australian Governments.
COAG allocated $218m in base funding for NEHTA for a three-year period from July 2009 until the PCEHR's promised operational start on July 1 this year.
Half of this funding came from the commonwealth while state and territory governments contributed the other half.
The Health Department gave NEHTA another $136m to develop specifications for the infrastructure and related software and systems, from July 09-12.
The latest departmental records show NEHTA recently received a $21m top-up on funding to $110m, for the provision of services related to the PCEHR's introduction from January last year.